Yes - You Need an Oil Separator | Your Valves Will Thank You
For years, you’ve seen us extolling the virtues of running an oil separator your boosted Ford. While most started to really pay attention to their benefits around the time of the supercharged 1999 SVT F-150 Lightning introduction, the addition of direct injection to modern Ford engines has increased the importance to adding one to a your engine to a heretofore unseen level. That’s because the old engines mostly just had issues with soaking the intercooler core with engine oil from the PVC system. However, EcoBoost engines suffer that issue, along with oil baking on the back of the intake valves. An issue known as coking. Plus burning engine oil effectively lowers the octane rating of the fuel you're burning, which can increase the likelihood of detonation. That’s why one of the first mods we made to our Bronco Raptor was to cobble together a homemade oil separator.
Perhaps a little history lesson is in order. Positive Crankcase Ventilation is an emissions strategy designed to alleviate the release of oil vapors and combustion byproduct gases from the bottom end of the engine. This mixture of vapors are piped into the intake tract in order to be burned inside the engine, thus creating a closed system. Great theory, but the issues noted above are the collateral damage of cleaner air.
An oil separator just slips inline in the piping of the PCV system and through a physical process allows the oil vapors to coalesce into a liquid. This liquid, which is mostly made up of previously vaporized oil, is then collected in a container so it’s easily disposed of during routine maintenance. It’s a simple, yet effective, way to keep your engine internals clean and functioning as designed. Running an engine oil with a low NOACK Volatility Rating will also reduce the amount of oil vapor produced by the engine. A dirty intercooler can reduce heat transfer from the air charge, thus hampering performance. Coked intake valves can hurt performance by restricting airflow, while also shortening the life of the engine by prematurely wearing the valve guides and seats. This video goes into more detail on the various issues/benefits:
We’ve been running JLT, now J&L OSC, oil separators for years on a number of vehicles. Their compact design and ease of install make them a no-brainer upgrade. Being very affordable doesn’t hurt their case either. We’re still waiting for J&L OSC to design a specific kit for the BRaptor, we’re currently Ver. 2.0 of our homebrew setup, but we did have a chance to check out their booth at Mustang Week last month. That’s where the above video and below photos were shot. If you have any questions, post them up.
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